How to Sell Products Online

Business | Websites | August 13th, 2019

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Contributor Dallen Clark. Copywriter & Marketing

Shopping online is becoming less of a bonus and more of an expectation these days. While mega online stores like Amazon and eBay aren’t as popular here in NZ as they are in other countries, they won’t stay that way for long. With many big NZ chains already having online stores and Amazon AU now open to New Zealand, online shopping is becoming massive worldwide. COVID-19 showed us how convenient shopping online and having products delivered straight to our door can be. Now, it’s almost an expected feature. So how can you start to sell products online?

Why sell products online through your website?

Not long ago, it was common to find many businesses that list their products online but have no prices or options to buy on the site. The idea was that people would see a product they like, drive to the store to buy it, and maybe pick up a few other items while they’re already there. It might seem like a solid idea, but now it’s an outdated one. Websites can suggest great pairs of products right there while you’re shopping. And while a lot of people were resistant to shopping online, the COVID Pandemic forced it upon them–and a lot of people found they preferred it. In the US for instance, online shopping rates doubled compared to the 2 years previous, and the trend continues to go strong.

This means that when possible, businesses should be considering adding e-commerce options–options for purchasing products directly from the website–to make sure that customers can find what they’re looking for and can buy what they want easily. Having an e-commerce option lets visitors decide they want something and buy it on the spot. Without it, you could be missing out on people on the final stage of the Buyer’s Journey, the ones ready to buy now. If you have shipping options, you can also reach people across the country who would never come into your physical store. If you don’t sell online, you could be missing out from people from all over who want what you have to offer!

However, deciding to sell products online isn’t as straightforward as checking a box. There are two major elements to consider when creating an e-commerce site: inventory management (how inventory is handled) and payment gateways (how transactions are handled).

What’s the right inventory management system?

While you might be able to try to keep track of your inventory with a notebook and a pen, it’s a lot of trouble that can be automated away with an online inventory management system. Depending on your business size, a simple database manager may do the trick, or you might need a comprehensive digital suite to make sure everything is handled properly.

Using an online inventory management keeps track of how many of each product you have left and allows you to quickly change prices for sales. Many will also automatically track sales numbers and create reports comparing month-to-month performance. A solid offering will also integrate with your in-store stock so you don’t have to try to coordinate stock manually. There on many to choose from, but we’re going to compare ten popular options: WooCommerce, Unleashed, Trade Gecko, Sortly, Vend, Cin7, Accredo, Ostendo, Infusion, and SAM Orion.

Inventory Management Systems

 

Name Price (Month) Number of Products Tracked Trial Period Features
WooCommerce* FREE Unlimited None (It’s already Free) Integration with WordPress Websites, unlimited customisation, API Access, Sales Reports
Unleashed $239-$899 Unlimited 14 Days Multiple Currencies; Optional B2B eCommerce; API Access; Document Designer
Trade Gecko $59-$939 10-2500 Sales/month 14 Days Accounting Integration; Multiple Currencies; 24/7 email tech support; Optional Batch & Expiry Tracking
Sortly $FREE-$119 100-unlimited 14 Days Desktop/Mobile Access; API Access; Cloud Storage; 30-90 Day storage; Auto sync data
Vend $129+ Unlimited 14 Days Custom receipts, cash management, discounts, web-based and offline
Cin7 $375-$695 Unlimited Guided Demo 24/7 support, automation, POS integrations, Warehouse Management, Payment Portal
Accredo Not Specified Not Specified Demo Version Invoicing, reporting, automation, sales tracking
Ostendo Not Specified Unlimited 30 Days Stock takes, allows negative stock, unlimited supplier catalogues, multi-currency and tax rates
Infusion $35-$85 Unlimited 30 Days Kitset pricing, print barcodes, product catalogues, integrated cashbook
SAM | Orion Not Specified Not Specified Guided Demo Multiple currencies, full sales and costing analysis, handheld ordering, time clocking

The special case of WooCommerce

Although we included it in the list above, WooCommerce is a little different than your traditional inventory management system. It’s designed exclusively for WordPress websites and does a lot of the work out of the box. Any additional features can be added through free or paid plugins, or built by a WordPress Web Developer. This gives it the most freedom to sell products online, but it can also take more time to get set up. It’s more of an e-commerce platform than inventory management, but it can track stock of an online store if you include that information. If you want to find out more about WooCommerce and e-commerce platforms, take a look at our article, Which eCommerce platform is the best for my business?

Choosing the right payment gateway

If you decide to sell products on your site, protecting sensitive customer information is one of the most important things that you can do. While website maintenance can protect some of your customer details, financial information should never be in a position to be compromised, and using a decent payment gateway makes sure hackers and data thieves shall not pass through.

There are many different payment gateways to choose from, each with different upfront and per-transaction costs. But there’s more to consider than simply cost. Some offer better service or incentives, while others aim to provide the service for the lowest cost, but have minimal customer support or extras. To help with your decision, we’re making a comparison of four of the most popular choices in NZ: PayPal, Windcave, Stripe, Paystation, Cybercom (Formerly Swipe), and Paymark Click.

Payment Gateways

Name Setup Fee Monthly Fee Transaction Fee Transfer Speed Extras
PayPal $0 $0 3.4% + $0.45 per transaction Usually within minutes (To your own PayPal Account, not bank) Online invoices and Mobile Payments included; lower rates with more sales
Windcave $150 $30 $0.30 + 2.8% per transaction Overnight Automated Phone Payments; Batch Processing
Stripe $0 $0 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction 4 Business Days Real-time reporting; Pay as you go; Multiple Payment Methods accepted; Anti-Fraud tools
Paystation $99-$149 $19-$149 75-500 free transactions, then $0.32-$0.45 depending on plan Varies (Based on Bank) 15 supported currencies, batch processing, cashflow reporting, Customer Support
Cybercom $99+GST $0 (If using CyberCom Pay Online) 2.85%, 1.29% for NZ Charities Same Day before 6PM Subscriptions, Mini CRM, Mobile App, 12 currencies with no exchange fees
Paymark Click $125 $25 $0.20+ Overnight Online EFTPOS, business insights, API Integration

How do I use these to sell products online?

So you’ve looked through the inventory management systems and payment gateways and think you have the best one to suit your needs. Now what? How do you use them to sell your items on your site? We’ve got you covered; simply follow these 9 steps and to get selling products!

  1. Get a website
  2. Choose and purchase an inventory management system
  3. Choose and purchase a payment gateway
  4. Integrate inventory management and payment gateway into your site
  5. Write out descriptions of all your products and services and add to each product page
  6. Take images and/or videos of products and services
  7. Customise your checkout page
  8. Sort out freight fees (if having items delivered)
  9. Preview and test your new online store to see if everything is working properly.

It’s a bit of work upfront, but having the option to sell products online can open you up to a whole new segment of the market! If you’re unsure about doing any of these steps on your own or would rather have an experienced team handle getting your store ready for product and service sales for you, get in touch with us today and let’s talk about how we can help! We’ve helped several stores get online, from small local businesses with a few products to working with stores with massive inventories that ship throughout the country. And we can help you too!

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